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Jun 15, 2006 12:50 PM

Buford's book Heat - has anyone read it? [Moved from Not About Food]

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Need a book to read. thoughts?

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  1. I'm abut 30 pages from being finished. I think its terrific, would read it again. Hard to put down, don't get anything done around here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karen

      I just went to a book signing for Anthony Bourdain and he said that he read it twice already - thought it was great. I bought it and cannot wait to read it and Nasty Bits AB's new book of essays.

      1. re: Sharon S.

        I read the New Yorker piece excerpted from it about taking the pig home to the apartment, with digressions into Tuscany, and adored that, so I'll certainly get it.

        We in Pasadena are having an incredible foodies-book weekend: Buford will be at Vroman's signing his book tomorrow night, and Bourdain will be there on Sunday. My father-in-law may have to take himself out for Father's Day dinner...

    2. Another good one is "The Reach of a Chef," by Michael Ruhlman (I think I got that name right -too lazy to check Google).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Akatonbo

        Ruhlman's two previous books in the same genre - The Making of a Chef and The Soul of a Chef are both outstanding, and real eye-openers for the Walter Mitty chef wannabes (like me) who hang out here, wondering if we really could chuck the first career and start over again at the CIA. Although the pace is a bit slower, another good one is The Perfectionist, the story of Bernard Loiseau, the French chef who supposedly killed himself after losing a Michelin star - the true story is much more complex than that.

        1. re: Akatonbo

          I'm actually in the middle of both books. (Literally just set "Heat" down to check some email). Ruhlman's book is a great look at the CIA after his first visit 8 or 10 years ago or something, very introspective. Also talks about what it means to be a chef today, looking at the celebrity of chefs, why we're all so fascinated about them now, and begs the question, are we reaching a tipping point. Very easy to read.

          Heat, I'm enjoying thoroughly, and look forward to hearing Bill talk at a reading tonight. His writing is so engaging, so even when he gets to parts about how to braise meat, or why, or why we brown meats before searing, something many home and all professional cooks know, it's not mind-numbing, but rather exciting because he was excited to learn about it the first time. And seeing the kitchen world, and Batali, and other volatile chefs like Marco Pierre through his eyes, is fantastic. Good read for those in and out of the business.

        2. Buford did an hour-long interview on NPR's "On Point", today. It was very enjoyable. Use the link below to get the podcast.


          1. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and it is giving me great pleasure. On top of being a great lover of food, Buford is one flat-out entertaining and skillful writer. I find myself laughing out loud and wanting to read passages to my wife, just to share the enjoyment. I've learned a good deal through reading this book, and not just about food or Mario Batali, although it's quite illuminating on both subjects. You should also read his recent New Yorker piece on dessert.

            1. Follow-up: the Pasadena Food Maven Weekend was even more fabulous than I'd hoped. Buford was an incredibly funny guy, as is Mr. Bourdain of course, and they both kept their very large crowds (packed wall-to-wall in Tony's case) in stitches. I started reading "Heat" as soon as I got home Friday night, and finished it Sunday morning before I'd finished my first cup of coffee. Then that night I started the same procedure with "Nasty Bits".

              "Heat" has something in common with Bourdain's "Les Halles Cookbook": both books emphasize and explain the vast differences between home cooking and restaurant cooking - not just differences of degree, but of kind - and then proceed to give useful advice to us home cooks based on restaurant practice. I never realized, for instance, why I tended to wear myself to a frazzle cooking a big dinner until Bourdain explained the concept of "mise en place". I still have a tendency to under-organize, but at least now I understand what I'm doing wrong...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Will Owen

                i ordered the book 11/04. got it a few weeks ago. highly recommend it.